Given the recent political developments around Qatar and the borders’ blockade implemented by its neighbours the country found its place in the major headlines of international newspapers. What is Qatar – the country commonly known from its national airline – Qatar Airways?
Through the exploration of its natural gas resources Qatar was looking for its place in the regional politics by showing ambitions that were inversely proportional to its size. The country was continuously trying to position itself between Iran with whom it shares the gas fields and Saudi Arabia with whom it has its only land border.
Unimaginable revenues generated from the sales of natural gas allowed the country to gain international visibility by organising important sports events, developing one of the best airlines in the world and last but not least creating the influential TV broadcaster Al-Jazeera.
We have been to Qatar two times for a short stopover of 1,5 days each time. In our opinion, more than enough to get a feeling about the country without major tourist attractions or historic landmarks.
When we were visiting the country several years ago, the airport terminal resembled a barn rather than a modern transportation hub. The airplanes were parking in the field 🙂 and the busses were bringing the passengers to the overcrowded terminal with basic infrastructure. In the meantime, a completely new airport was open which meets the most modern international standards.
What to see?
The number one on our list is certainly Doha’s Corniche offering panorama views on all parts of Qatar’s capital and being the main point for social networking of local people. The tourists can take a ride in the boat or rest in one of the cafeterias. Don’t forget to take some warm clothes if you visit Doha in January or February because the temperatures can fall down to 13-15 degrees already in the afternoon.
Number two is the local souq with multiple shops and restaurants offering local products. There is also the golden souq in Doha nearby which consists of few shops.
There is actually no number three except of visiting one of the hugely oversized shopping malls.
Please keep in mind that Qatar is one of the most conservative islamic countries in the region although the modern skyline of Doha’s West Bay district could suggest the opposite. Alcohol drinks are hardly available anywhere including the hotels and the dresscode has to be observed more strictly than in Dubai. To sum up, this is a place to see for one day unless Qatar invests considerable higher amount of money into tourist attractions.